Former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday evening that Iran is very likely to come into possession of nuclear bombs within the next decade.
While it is “very difficult” to say whether Iran will have nuclear bombs, he said, “it is definitely very likely that Iran will become a nuclear power in the course of the coming decade, and will follow in the footsteps of North Korea and Pakistan.”
The agreement between the world powers and Iran opens a new page in the Middle East, Barak explained, and indicates that Israel is seen by the US and other powers as marginal, while Iran has gained legitimacy as a regional power.
And yet, Barak said, the situation is “not apocalyptic.” He insisted that “the good news, as far as we are concerned, is that Israel is still the strongest country in the Middle East – militarily, economically and diplomatically – and by no means are we in a situation like Europe in 1938 or the Palestine Mandate in 1947 [before the outbreak of the War of Independence].”
Barak hinted that the agreement makes it more difficult for Israel to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and that in order to maintain the military option open, Israel must resume cooperation with the US on this matter. In addition, he said, Israel needs to open negotiations on regional security with the Saudis and the Gulf states, which are also threatened by Iran.
In any case, he said, Israel can live with anything that happens in Iran, including the development of nuclear bombs. “We are not in an apocalyptic situation." After all, he hypothesized, even if Iran dismantles its entire nuclear program, Pakistan could one day collapse and a dozen of its nuclear bombs could fall into the hands of the Iranians. And yet, he said, this would not mean that the Jews would flee Israel.